POSTED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 7:02am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 1:11pm
The photo of President Barack Obama skeet shooting at Camp David may have put to rest some of the conspiracy theories surrounding his claim to partake in the activity "all the time," but it sparked one gun group to offer some advice on the sport.
And they should know: the National Shooting Sports Foundation helped build the range Obama uses at his presidential retreat.
"We provided one of the industry's top facilities consultants, and donated tens of thousands of dollars of machinery, consulting and oversight to build the regulation field," NSSF vice president Larry Keane wrote in a statement on the organization's website.
"We provided countless hours of shotgun and safety instruction as well. We were honored to provide this service for the office of the Presidency, and our investment appears to be paying off by recruiting new shooters. Welcome, Mr. President," Keane continued.
On future outings, Obama might try "leaning a little further forward into the shot to better manage recoil," Keane wrote by way of suggestion.
"Keep your feet about shoulder width apart, and put more weight on your leading foot," he continued. "You appear to be shooting a gun with 'neutral cast,' to wit, a straight stock. Since you're shooting left-handed, you may want to look into a different stock cast to better accommodate you. And if you're going to get a custom gun, make sure they measure your length of pull first. Proper gun fit makes an enormous difference in accuracy, and thus in your enjoyment of the sport."
He also had some tips for Pete Souza, the White House photographer who snapped the photo of Obama shooting that was released last Saturday.
"It's better policy to stand directly behind the shooter on any active range, because it's safer and besides, you can see (and snap, if you're quick) whether he hit the target," Keane wrote.
The Newtown, Connecticut-based NSSF has been a vocal opponent of some of Obama's proposals to limit gun violence, which were unveiled following the massacre at an elementary school only three miles from NSSF's headquarters.
The group, which largely stayed quiet following the December 14 shooting in a show of respect for their mourning community, has opposed a ban on assault weapons that was proposed by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. Obama has also pushed for the ban, though it's unlikely to garner enough support for passage in Congress.
In his statement, Keane said Obama could try using a semiautomatic shotgun on his skeet shooting range, since one of the NSSF's member companies donated the firearms to Camp David's collection.
"In fact, the semiautomatic shotguns are functionally identical to all the semiautomatic firearms that Senator Dianne Feinstein has proposed to ban in her sweeping new legislation," Keane wrote, urging Obama to consider who would be affected by a complete ban on assault-style weapons.
"Gun owners, by the way, have only a few short weeks before we see whether the Congress puts a target on our Second Amendment rights," he wrote. "We urge you and all our elected lawmakers to know your target, which is the criminal misuse of firearms, not arbitrary limits on which guns and magazines law-abiding citizens can legally purchase."